Meet the 2019 Children’s Bureau Champions
The Children’s Bureau Champion Awards honor those who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to improving the overall health and well-being of our nation’s children and families. The 2019 honorees are:
Providence House (Cleveland, OH)
Founded in 1981 to provide emergency shelter for children in Greater Cleveland whose families were experiencing a crisis, Providence House supports one of the longest lengths of stay among nurseries in the U.S. and the deepest levels of services beyond children’s emergency shelter, promoting family stability and preservation and preventing foster care placements. The program uses a multi-generation approach to keep children aged newborn to 12 years old safe and works with parents to address root causes of family instability. In doing so, they connect parents to necessary supports and help them break away from behaviors and systems that breed situations that lead to child abuse and neglect. Children at Providence House receive emergency shelter and basic needs, as well as direct care through trained early childcare staff. While children are at Providence House, parents maintain custody and have time to focus on treatment and rebuilding. Licensed social workers work with parents using a strengths-based perspective that emphasizes resources and existing support systems. Providence House has built partnerships with over 100 organizations in the greater Cleveland community to ensure that children and families get the services and support they need to succeed.
Andrew and Amy Baker (Searcy, AR)
Andrew and Amy, foster parents since 2014, are committed to partnering with birth parents to help ensure that every child they have fostered is eventually reunified with his or her biological family. Andrew is the founder of Red Door Table Foundation, an organization committed to supporting biological parents, children and foster families through meetings and participation in case management in the hope of bringing all parties to the table for greater good. He also serves as White County Project Manager/State Director of Family Services for Restore Hope Arkansas, an initiative to improve both foster care and prison re-entry at the community and state level by ensuring that those in need have knowledge of and access to services in their communities. In 2017, Andrew, Amy, and their family were recognized by the Arkansas Division of Child and Family Services as the State Foster Family of the Year.
Sue Williams (Columbia, SC)
Sue has been a tireless advocate for children and families throughout South Carolina and at the national level. As CEO of the Children’s Trust of South Carolina, Sue has built a collaborative program model where local partners deliver community knowledge, leadership, and access to families and program delivery. The Children’s Trust provides program support, evaluation, training and coaching, and funding and other financial supports. To better coordinate services for children and families, Sue facilitated the merger of three child welfare agencies in South Carolina that fund innovative programs across the state for preventing child abuse, neglect, and injuries. She has focused program funding on evidence-based or promising-practice programs and has built a reputation for delivering results and ensuring partners operate with fidelity, transparency, and integrity. With Sue’s focus on research, the Children’s Trust of South Carolina now collects and studies child data to know what is and is not working and where to focus the state’s policies and programs to yield the most substantial and cost-effective benefits in preventing child abuse, neglect, and injury.
Good Samaritan Community Services (San Antonio, TX)
Good Samaritan Community Services serves as a catalyst for change, supporting youth, individuals, and families by providing community-based services to help empower them to overcome the impact of poverty. These services, which reach more than 5,500 individuals and families across six sites in South Texas, include the agency’s Family Development Services and Youth Development Services programs. Good Sam’s Family Development Services program is a neighborhood resource offering adults and families the opportunity to enhance their employability and self-sufficiency, and to strengthen their family life. Services include emergency food, case management, counseling, referrals for GED/ESL and citizenship classes, and the only NISC-accredited senior center in South Texas. Its Youth Development Services (YDS), which includes Asset Building for Clients (ABC), Youth Case Management and Afterschool programs, helps young people ages 6 to 18 acquire the life and academic skills necessary for personal success. YDS exposes youth to new experiences, provides safe spaces to learn, and helps develop a sense of purpose. Good Sam collaborates with a variety of community-based organizations to enhance services and empower children, youth, and families for a better future.
Justin “Jay” Miller (Louisville, KY)
Jay Miller is Associate Dean for Research, Associate Professor, Director of the Self-Care Lab, and the Doris Y. Wilkinson Distinguished Professor in Social Work Education in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. Jay founded the Self-Care Lab at the university to address potentially toxic employment conditions for child welfare professionals. The Lab is a unique, collaborative partnership comprised of researchers across the nation generating empirical knowledge around broad-ranging self-care research and education. Jay is also engaged in state-wide efforts to support foster/adoptive/kinship caregivers, improve the resilience and well-being of youth in care, and raise awareness about the impact that child trauma can have on young people. Before entering academia, Jay was a Child Protective Service worker and child maltreatment investigative social worker for the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Crimes Against Children Unit. Jay is also a proud foster care alum, having spent time in foster and kinship care as a young person. All of these experiences, singularly and collectively, have shaped his approach to serving child welfare staff, foster youth and their families, and caregivers.
The Children’s Bureau wishes to thank everyone who participated in the 2019 Children’s Bureau Champion Awards. Achieving our goals is possible only through the hard work and commitment of many partners across the country. We were impressed by the caliber of this year’s nominees and the diverse and creative approaches to supporting children and families in local communities throughout the country. Our heartfelt thanks to all of you for your commitment and good works.
About the Awards
The Children’s Bureau is committed to refocusing our nation’s child welfare system on strengthening families’ capacity to care for their own children; reducing the numbers of children traumatized by abuse and neglect; and breaking the inter-generational cycle of trauma and maltreatment. The Champion Awards recognize agencies, community-based organizations, businesses, courts, individuals, parent leaders, or others who have made an exceptional contribution to promoting the health and well-being of children and families.